By RON FANFAIR
Roy Rana has made the leap from high school to university.
The coach of the successful Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute basketball program takes over the Ryerson University program which enters this season with high expectations after reaching the playoffs last year for the first time in nearly a decade.
With Rana at the helm, Eastern won five provincial championships and five city titles, and the Toronto South league crown all nine years that he was associated with the program.
“I am excited,” said Rana. “I think it’s a fantastic opportunity. Obviously the university has got a lot of talent and it’s an emerging program in the OAU (Ontario University Athletics) and CIS (Canadian Inter-university Sport). I am just honoured to be at the helm and hopefully leading it to future success…Coaching at Eastern College where I have come from has been extremely challenging. I think I am prepared mentally for the challenge.
“Obviously, there is a lot of work to be done. It’s a different level and I am completely aware of that. I am going to have to improve myself as a coach…I am a process-oriented coach so I think it’s going to be about taking positive steps forward and giving ourselves an opportunity to make the playoffs consistently every year.
“And once we are there, giving ourselves the chance to play for an OAU championship and a trip to nationals. That’s the goal.”
Ryerson University’s athletic director, Ivan Joseph, said he’s delighted to have Rana on board.
“He has built a legacy at the high school level and has a proven track record of success everywhere he has gone,” said Joseph. “We were drawn to him by his international experience and ties to the local community. We’ve always believed that basketball has been a hidden gem at Ryerson, and we feel that his hiring is the next step in our continued efforts to build the Ryerson basketball program.”
In addition to his success at Eastern Commerce, Rana led the Ontario juvenile men’s team to gold medals three times, claiming titles at the 2003 and 2004 national championships and the 2005 Canada Summer Games.
He makes his university coaching debut on October 8 in Ryerson’s first exhibition game at McMaster University.